Oskar Blues Fugli

Oskar-Blues-FugliWhat started as a small brewpub in the late 90’s, has become the craft beer behemoth Oskar Blues Brewery. Now with two breweries, one in Longmont, Colorado and a satellite brewery in Brevard, North Carolina, they have plans for a 3rd in location in Austin, Texas. Offering eight year round selections and a handful seasonal and limited brews, they continue to add new beers to their lineup.

This IPA is brewed with Ugli and Yuzu.

Ugli is a hybrid of grapefruit, oranges and tangerines. Yuzu is similar to a mandarin orange, but tarter. These two fruits give this IPA a strong citrus background.

ABV: 5.8% IBU’s: 60

Pour: a clear amber color, with minimal carbonation.

Head: A thin off hear forms quickly and vanishes even faster.

Nose: Lots of pine. like a west coast style IPA, with a good amount of citrus on the tail.

Palate: Medium bodied with a sticky characteristic. Big hop presence gives a good amount of pine notes. The fruit show up on the end and mellows the pine, while giving some citrus flavors. Finish is clean with mellow acidity.

Overall: Really good stuff. I was expecting more of a tropical style IPA, but this has a big west coast vibe. The fruit was more of a way to tame the hops while leaving some citrus hints behind. This would pair with mango habanero wings, mussels or carrot cake.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.0 Out Of 5 Pints

Magnify Vine Shine IPA

Over the last year or so,MAGNIFY VINESHINE2 the growing “eat local” craze has infiltrated the highly competitive craft beer market. Familiar names have been replaced on beer lists with local craft brews, and the coveted shelf space in retail outlets has been grabbed up by these, until recently, unknown breweries.

One of the big players in the market is Magnify Brewing Company, based out of Fairfield, NJ. I haven’t had the pleasure of stopping by the brewery yet, but a tasting event at our Wayne location last week allowed me to finally sample a few of their beers. We had a couple of limited releases, as well as Vine Shine IPA, one of their more widely distributed releases.

This beer was inspired by both East and West coast IPAs. Drawing its dank piney hop character from the West, and its smooth light bitterness, along with its dry “crushabilty” from the East.

6.5% ABV

Pour: Slightly hazy, straw yellow/gold.

Head: Fairly thin, foamy white.

Nose: Faint hop aromas with hints of citrus.

Palate: Smooth, low bitterness, very modest notes citrus/tropical fruit flavors. Finish is very fresh and clean.

Overall: The brewery describes this one as “crushable.” I would say that is a fair statement. This local brew really hit the spot on a warm spring day. Great intro to the IPA style as it is not over the top with hoppy bitterness.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out Of 5 Pints

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

Jai-Alai-IPAIts official. Cigar City Brewing has made its way to NJ!

After years of waiting, the Tampa cult brewery will be available year-round starting with their Jai Alai IPA. Founded in 2009, Cigar City has won numerous awards and has grown from producing around 1,000 barrels a year, to over 65,000 last year. They also formed a partnership with Oskar Blues, which means even more markets should be seeing this IPA in the coming months.

Jai Alai IPA has won numerous awards, including the 2010 Best Florida Beer – Championship Gold Medal.

ABV: 7.5% IBU’s: 70

Pour: A nice golden color, hazy without much carbonation.

Head: A small one finger head, frothy and off-white in color. Fades quickly leaving moderate lacing.

Nose: Crisp pine notes with papaya and other tropical fruits.

Palate: Sticky at first. Medium-bodied with light fruits and hints of wheat. Finishes clean with subtle hops.

Overall: This was a great IPA and the perfect beer to get people excited for Cigar City. We’re looking forward to more releases in the coming months. Pairs well with empanadas, BBQ Ribs or spicy dishes.

Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Pints

Stone Pataskala Red X IPA

stone_pataskala_red_ipaSince being founded in 1996, Stone has made its mark on the craft beer world. Starting in San Diego, they’ve since become so popular a 2nd brewery was opened in Richmond and even a 3rd in Belgium. Thier beers show the West Coast roots, being hop dominated with above average ABV’s. Called an “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” twice by Beer Advocate, the accolades keep coming from this SoCal legend.

ABV: 7.3% IBU: 70

Pour: A rustic deep red color with plenty of carbonation swirling up.

Head: A firm off white head raises and lingers, sticking to the side of the glass as it slowly disappears.

Nose: Plenty of pine notes here, followed by hints of lemon. Bread like aromas of malt on the back end.

Palate: Nice and balanced, rich malts lead to crisp pine needles. Medium bodied with a sticky resin like feel that coats your mouth.

Overall: I’m a big fan of Red IPA’s, most brewers have found the perfect balance of hops giving that IPA feel with a strong malt background to give weight and Stone really hit the mark on this one. This was one impressive brew, the malty backbone makes this IPA one to enjoy on those cold nights until spring is in full swing. A nice pairing with spicy chicken, tangy chesses or even pound cake with a little fruit on top.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 4.5 Out of 5 Pints

Great Lakes Chillwave Double IPA

great-lakes-chillwaveGreat Lakes Brewing Company, founded in 1988 by brothers Patrick and Daniel Conway, was the first brewpub and microbrewery in Ohio. What started as a dream between two brothers, has grown into 21st largest brewery by volume in United States. Important to Cleveland’s local identity, the brewery distributes over a dozen year round and seasonal brews.

ABV: 9.0 % | 80 IBUs

Pour: A slight hazy golden rust color with mild carbonation.

Head: A thin off white head that dissipates quickly leaving moderate lacing.

Nose: Juicy fruit notes, mango and grapefruit, with earthy pine notes.

Palate: Fairly light compared to most double IPA’s, not as much as expected but has a smooth hop presences and a clean acidity.

Overall: A smooth Double IPA without being overtly bitter. It has nice flavor to it, but I wouldn’t mind some of the fruit notes on the nose showing more in the flavor. This has the feeling of a double IPA, with a bit of crush-ability. A nice pairing with grilled fish, sharp cheeses or even pizza for a quick week night dinner.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints

Oskar Blues Pinner Throwback IPA

Oskar Blues Pinner Throwback IPAWhat started as a brewpub in a small town in Colorado has become the craft beer and can behemoth Oskar Blues. What was once a small brewpub has grown to include two breweries, one in Longmont, Colorado and a satellite brewery in Brevard, North Carolina with plans for a 3rd in location in Austin, Texas. They offer eight year round selections and a handful of seasonal and limited brews.

The Oskar Blues Pinner Throwback IPA pours a nice light amber gold, minimal head with some nice carbonation. As the head dies down leaves nice rings of lacing behind. This is a great looking beer.

On the nose you there is a small showing of citrus and stiff pine notes. The hoppyness is definitely more dominant up front. Aromas of bread, malt and a slight earthiness.

On the pallet there’s a nice sticky feel to it, almost like a resin characteristic. There was not as much passion fruit, or other fruit notes, as you might expect to see up front. The hops definitely take center stage but then the passion fruit does kick up a little bit on the finish. On the second sip, the hops start to mellow out a little bit. This has much more of a bigger IPA feel then a session ale, but still a nice take on their Pinner Throwback Ale.

A great choice for those not ready to let summer go, with the hops you want and a touch fruit to soften it up. Great for some outdoor fun, especially since it’s sold exclusively in cans. Whether it be sitting around a fire or after a long hike, a refreshing IPA that’s a little out of the box. This would pair well with grilled pork chops, salad or some grilled veggies.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.0 Out of 5 Pints

Flying Dog Fever Dream: Mango Habanero IPA

Flying Dog Fever Dream: Mango Habanero IPASometimes inspiration strikes when you least expect.

In 1983, George Stranahan and group of friends decided to climb K2. The story goes that about halfway up, they used almost of all of their provisions. They made it back safely they settled into a local hotel in Pakistan, that’s where an oil painting of a flying dog planted the idea of a craft brewery. Seven years later, George opened the first brewery in Aspen, one of the first brewpubs in the Rocky Mountains.

Today, the brewery boasts an extensive portfolio of over 2 dozen beers and one of their most recent releases is an IPA brewed with mango and habanero.

This beer pours a rich but hazy amber-golden color. A small eggshell white head lingers with some moderate lacing.

There’s a lot going on here. Rich pine notes, with some smooth fruit notes. Mango and peach lead but additional tropical notes jump out. Small hints of habanero are present, but take a back seat to the citrus and hop notes.

Lots of flavors hit the palate. A more medium body IPA with a resin characteristic that grips the tongue. Not much habanero on the palate, but some heat is masked by a malty sweetness. The finish sees more of the spicy flavor,  not overbearing just a subtle kick on the finish.

This a great beer for someone looking to start trying the pepper infused brew trend. Has classic IPA flavors, a touch of warming heat with some sweet mango notes to pull it all together. Wasn’t as intense of some of the habanero beers on the market but still has some kick to stand out. A nice pairing with some fried chicken, fresh fish tacos or a sharp cheddar and Triscuits.

The Beer Buyer Overall Rating: 3.5 Out of 5 Pints